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Re-election Year Kills Alimony Reform in Florida 2014 Legislative Session

Florida Alimony Reform, Fort Lauderdale, PlantationA year ago I could not keep up with my blogs discussing the latest and greatest on the proposed alimony reform bills pending in the Florida House and Senate.  As you may recall, ultimately the House and Senate of Florida passed an alimony reform bill that would have had major ramifications, not only as it applied to alimony, but as it applied to time sharing between parents as well as other significant changes to family law overall.

Then in the eleventh (literally) hour, Governor Rick Scott vetoed the bill, leaving the law unchanged last year, but still with the significant changes made to Florida alimony in the prior few years.  My parting words last spring, however, to paraphrase Arnold  Schwarzenegger (before he was California governor, and before he impregnated Maria’s and his nanny)was that alimony reform will “be back.”

Well, in case you missed the new flash, it’s not coming back this year.  I actually was privy to this information at the beginning of February when I attended the annual Florida Bar Marital and Family Law review course in Orlando, and the powers that be told us so.

It seems that since this is a Florida gubernatorial election year, our dear Gov was concerned that even introducing such a bill would create controversy (you think???), and no matter which way the shoe fell, even having the bill up for consideration was just bad politics.   Ritch Workman, the state representative from Florida’s 52nd district, along with  Senator Kelli Stargel, who were the starring proponents of last year’s legislation, were slated to give it another go this year.  According to my sources back in February, the outline of the bill (backed by F.A.R. -our friends at Florida Alimony Reform, who believe alimony is the root of all evil, particularly the evil of ex wives) was not that far off from where the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar felt that a compromise might be forthcoming.

Seems Governor Scott was more concerned about advocating for other legislation that would create a more favorable political climate for his re-election.    This lines up directly with F.A.R. president  Alan  Frisher’s sad lament in late February  when he expressed that he had “a frustration that is beyond words,” after Workman let him know that Stargel and he decided to forego filing an alimony reform bill during the current legislative session.

Ah, politics.  You have to love them.  It will be interesting to see how the governor’s race shakes out, and what effect Scott’s re-election, or the election of one of the Democrats vying for the position, has on the future of alimony reform.  If Scott wins re-election and backs next year’s bill remember, you read it here first.   As to this subject, next year I’ll be back!

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